Wildland Fire and Mobilization Committee Chair Jeff Wainwright, Local 3711, reports on the recently concluded 2020 season. Wainwright, who is also the WSCFF 2nd District Representative, serves on the committee with Jeff Miller, Local 27; KC Whitehouse, Local 2394; Norby Johnson, Local 3390, Jason Wilkins, Local 3711, and Jason Gallagher, Local 4333.
- The 2020 wildland fire season saw 713,000 acres burn in Washington – five times the number consumed during the entire 2019 season. Just under 600,000 of those acres burned during the Labor Day weekend.
- Large fires broke out on both sides of the Cascades this year, resulting in shuttered highways, power outages, and the destruction of homes and businesses.
- State mobilization was authorized for the Sumner Grade Fire in Bonney Lake.
- The entire communities of Malden and Pine City were decimated in Eastern Washington.
- WSCFF members were on the frontlines across Washington within their home jurisdictions or at one of the 24 state mobilizations authorized during 2020. Many of our members and their families were evacuated from their homes during the early part of September while they were on duty and working to protect the community, all the while not knowing if their homes would be there when they returned.
- WSCFF members participated in the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) for California and Oregon. These members were deployed in several parts of those states assisting in all aspects of emergency response.
- For the second time in three years, wildfire smoke gave Washington the worst air quality in the world.
The WSCFF Wildland Fire and Mobilization Committee is dedicated to working with our partner agencies in mitigating wildfires in the state of Washington. We will always strive to ensure our members have a voice at the table with issues impacting them in the wildland setting and within the state’s All-Risk Mobilizations Plan.